Author Topic: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010  (Read 26153 times)

Richard Johnson

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #240 on: November 02, 2010, 03:00:26 PM »
And it will be easy to determine at least part of the financial impact. Just take the mission support figures (BTW, we haven't called it "benevolence" for 20 years) from the congregations that withdraw and add 'em up.

From the ELCA website, which, I acknowledge, isn't "official"  ;D  :

Why use “worshipping size” as the benchmark?
There is no perfect method of measuring the size of a congregation. Baptized members, confirmed members, total budget, total benevolence, percentage of baptized members worshipping, per capita giving, per capita benevolence giving, and growth or loss in any of these categories all help to give a picture of a congregation’s vitality, regardless of size. “Worshipping size”, however, has come to be accepted as the most accurate (though certainly inadequate in many ways) method of measuring congregation size. It is what most demographers and statisticians use.


From a letter from ELCA VP Pena: If you are considering redirecting benevolence, I would urge reconsideration.

 Again from the website:

18 most effective practices used by congregations strong in stewardship:
 . . . They practice first fruits and proportionate giving for mission support (benevolence) for the whole church.


Apparently we all haven't gotten your memo.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #241 on: November 02, 2010, 04:37:40 PM »
Nope. The fact is that we have officially called it "mission support" for decades. I can't be accountable for every word from the ELCA vice president. And I note that in the quote from the ELCA website "benevolence" is in parentheses, an aid to people who haven't caught on.  ;D

jrubyaz

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #242 on: November 02, 2010, 04:58:37 PM »

Pastor Keener wins the ALPB crackerjack prize of the day. By far, the greatest impact in our synod comes from those remaining in the ELCA but doing one of two things:

1)having congregational meetings or annual meetings were mission support is redirected in part or full

2) Leaving individual members to "choose" between giving locally to the parish and local mission or to the larger church .

One guess who wins...

 

And it will be easy to determine at least part of the financial impact. Just take the mission support figures (BTW, we haven't called it "benevolence" for 20 years) from the congregations that withdraw and add 'em up.

Sorry Charles that will tell you almost nothing. My bet is that most of the decline is to be found in congregations staying in the ELCA. It may take a 2/3 majority at two congregational meetings to leave the ELCA but it only takes a simply majority at one meeting to change the budget. Simply, counting those leaving also does not take into account the number of people who have left congregations because of the CWA decisions. Also, it does not take into account the congregations that split because they could not achieve the 2/3rds. Many of those people started LCMC or NALC mission congregations leaving the churches they left with greatly reduced budgets. And yes I realize that you said "at least part of the financial impact". My point is simply that figuring out this part is just not of much use. 

Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #243 on: November 02, 2010, 05:15:19 PM »
Pastor Ruby writes (re members' giving):
2) Leaving individual members to "choose" between giving locally to the parish and local mission or to the larger church .

I comment:
Why not be consistent and take it the full route?
I'll contribute to the Sunday School, but not to the choir. I want my offering to go to the electric bill and the insurance, but I'm not supporting that rascal of a pastor. My tithe should go 100 percent to the mortgage, not a penny towards that out-of-control youth group.
Either we give to the "Church" as we see the whole Church or we are not being responsible.
Would you support this kind of giving in your parish?

dkeener

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #244 on: November 02, 2010, 05:36:21 PM »
Pastor Ruby writes (re members' giving):
2) Leaving individual members to "choose" between giving locally to the parish and local mission or to the larger church .

I comment:
Why not be consistent and take it the full route?
I'll contribute to the Sunday School, but not to the choir. I want my offering to go to the electric bill and the insurance, but I'm not supporting that rascal of a pastor. My tithe should go 100 percent to the mortgage, not a penny towards that out-of-control youth group.
Either we give to the "Church" as we see the whole Church or we are not being responsible.
Would you support this kind of giving in your parish?

Actually it has little impact on the parish. Designating offerings to a particular line item only has a negative impact on the budget when the giving to that line item exceeds the line item - and this rarely happens. To illustrate - if the pastor's salary is $5000 per month then $5000 is spent from the general fund for that expense. If someone said they only wanted their offerings of $500 per month to go for the pastors salary then the general fund would only have to pay $4500 each month for that expense and the money saved would be spent elsewhere. It would only become a problem if the designated giving for pastoral expense exceeded $5000 per month.

What pastor Ruby discribed would be more akin to someone saying,  "I no longer trust my local congregation to spend my money wisely so I'm going to send my offering directly to the food pantry down the street.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #245 on: November 02, 2010, 07:00:51 PM »
Pastor Ruby writes (re members' giving):
2) Leaving individual members to "choose" between giving locally to the parish and local mission or to the larger church .

I comment:
Why not be consistent and take it the full route?
I'll contribute to the Sunday School, but not to the choir. I want my offering to go to the electric bill and the insurance, but I'm not supporting that rascal of a pastor. My tithe should go 100 percent to the mortgage, not a penny towards that out-of-control youth group.
Either we give to the "Church" as we see the whole Church or we are not being responsible.
Would you support this kind of giving in your parish?

Actually it has little impact on the parish. Designating offerings to a particular line item only has a negative impact on the budget when the giving to that line item exceeds the line item - and this rarely happens.

It can have great impact if there is not enough undesignated money for necessary expenses like the pastor's salary/housing and pension contributions. I've known clergy who received less than full paychecks because there wasn't enough money. I had council members tell me about passing the hat at a council meeting so that they could pay the pastor. I was at a church where we let people "adopt-a-bill," and these bills were all paid. However, there wasn't always enough money to make the mortgage payment. Three times during my 11 years, we had to take action because we were being threatened with foreclosure.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

ptmccain

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #246 on: November 02, 2010, 07:18:07 PM »
So, based on the conversation here, I gather that a "bound conscience" will be respected as long as it does not involve a closed wallet?

 ;)

dkeener

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #247 on: November 02, 2010, 08:25:41 PM »
Pastor Ruby writes (re members' giving):
2) Leaving individual members to "choose" between giving locally to the parish and local mission or to the larger church .

I comment:
Why not be consistent and take it the full route?
I'll contribute to the Sunday School, but not to the choir. I want my offering to go to the electric bill and the insurance, but I'm not supporting that rascal of a pastor. My tithe should go 100 percent to the mortgage, not a penny towards that out-of-control youth group.
Either we give to the "Church" as we see the whole Church or we are not being responsible.
Would you support this kind of giving in your parish?

Actually it has little impact on the parish. Designating offerings to a particular line item only has a negative impact on the budget when the giving to that line item exceeds the line item - and this rarely happens.

It can have great impact if there is not enough undesignated money for necessary expenses like the pastor's salary/housing and pension contributions. I've known clergy who received less than full paychecks because there wasn't enough money. I had council members tell me about passing the hat at a council meeting so that they could pay the pastor. I was at a church where we let people "adopt-a-bill," and these bills were all paid. However, there wasn't always enough money to make the mortgage payment. Three times during my 11 years, we had to take action because we were being threatened with foreclosure.

Sorry Brian but I stand by my comments. My first degree was in accounting and I have the history of being called to two congregations that were virtually bankrupt when I arrived and both became very healthy financially under my leadership. Designated giving is, in the long term, good for the financial health of a congregation. The problems in the ELCA have nothing to do with designated giving but rather with a loss of trust in the churches leadership. On a side note - I believe that the pastor's pay should reflect the community in which he or she lives. If the community is suffering a major economic setback (massive layoffs' etc) then the pastor should expect to suffer along with them.  If on the other hand, the people are doing fairly well, the pastor is driving the oldest car in the parking lot and the problem is a lack of giving rather than a lack of income by parishoners - then I think that threating the pastor's paycheck (and family) is not only irresponsible but immoral.  I'm sorry but if I had a council that offered to "pass the hat" for me I would say no thanks - pass it on Sunday after you explain to the congregation why you thought paying the light bill and buying bulletins was more important than the pastor feeding his family.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #248 on: November 02, 2010, 08:42:16 PM »
Pastor Ruby writes (re members' giving):
2) Leaving individual members to "choose" between giving locally to the parish and local mission or to the larger church .

I comment:
Why not be consistent and take it the full route?
I'll contribute to the Sunday School, but not to the choir. I want my offering to go to the electric bill and the insurance, but I'm not supporting that rascal of a pastor. My tithe should go 100 percent to the mortgage, not a penny towards that out-of-control youth group.
Either we give to the "Church" as we see the whole Church or we are not being responsible.
Would you support this kind of giving in your parish?

Actually it has little impact on the parish. Designating offerings to a particular line item only has a negative impact on the budget when the giving to that line item exceeds the line item - and this rarely happens.

It can have great impact if there is not enough undesignated money for necessary expenses like the pastor's salary/housing and pension contributions. I've known clergy who received less than full paychecks because there wasn't enough money. I had council members tell me about passing the hat at a council meeting so that they could pay the pastor. I was at a church where we let people "adopt-a-bill," and these bills were all paid. However, there wasn't always enough money to make the mortgage payment. Three times during my 11 years, we had to take action because we were being threatened with foreclosure.

Sorry Brian but I stand by my comments. My first degree was in accounting and I have the history of being called to two congregations that were virtually bankrupt when I arrived and both became very healthy financially under my leadership. Designated giving is, in the long term, good for the financial health of a congregation.

I don't disagree. The most financially secure congregation I served had 22 different accounts people could donate to. (No one knew there were that many until I compiled them -- and insisted that every account needed to have a report in the Annual Meeting.)

The problem is not designated giving, per se; but people's attitude about church and their giving. When a parishioner tells the treasurer, I'm designated all my offerings for utilities because I don't want to pay for the pastor; that is an attitude that is not healthy for the congregation.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 08:44:36 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #249 on: November 02, 2010, 09:42:15 PM »
Nope. The fact is that we have officially called it "mission support" for decades. I can't be accountable for every word from the ELCA vice president. And I note that in the quote from the ELCA website "benevolence" is in parentheses, an aid to people who haven't caught on.  ;D

Nope. Go to the elca web site and do a search for "benevolence." You will find DOZENS of uses of the term. The first one on the list will actually be an official ELCA form of some kind which asks you to fill in a figure for "ELCA benevolence."

And I would say that IF there has been a conscious effort for "decades" (technically true; two decades) to change the language, it obviously hasn't worked and was probably misguided in the first place.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

George Erdner

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #250 on: November 02, 2010, 09:48:40 PM »
Nope. The fact is that we have officially called it "mission support" for decades. I can't be accountable for every word from the ELCA vice president. And I note that in the quote from the ELCA website "benevolence" is in parentheses, an aid to people who haven't caught on.  ;D

Nope. Go to the elca web site and do a search for "benevolence." You will find DOZENS of uses of the term. The first one on the list will actually be an official ELCA form of some kind which asks you to fill in a figure for "ELCA benevolence."

And I would say that IF there has been a conscious effort for "decades" (technically true; two decades) to change the language, it obviously hasn't worked and was probably misguided in the first place.

Richard and Charles, quit your bickering. The rest of us don't want to hear it! Must you two always go at each other?  ::)


Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #251 on: November 02, 2010, 09:52:26 PM »

On the "benevolence" issue: I resign the field. Call it what you will. I really don't care.

Richard Johnson

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #252 on: November 02, 2010, 09:53:02 PM »
Nope. The fact is that we have officially called it "mission support" for decades. I can't be accountable for every word from the ELCA vice president. And I note that in the quote from the ELCA website "benevolence" is in parentheses, an aid to people who haven't caught on.  ;D

Nope. Go to the elca web site and do a search for "benevolence." You will find DOZENS of uses of the term. The first one on the list will actually be an official ELCA form of some kind which asks you to fill in a figure for "ELCA benevolence."

And I would say that IF there has been a conscious effort for "decades" (technically true; two decades) to change the language, it obviously hasn't worked and was probably misguided in the first place.

Richard and Charles, quit your bickering. The rest of us don't want to hear it! Must you two always go at each other?  ::)



Only when he's wrong . . .
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

George Erdner

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #253 on: November 02, 2010, 09:54:23 PM »
Nope. The fact is that we have officially called it "mission support" for decades. I can't be accountable for every word from the ELCA vice president. And I note that in the quote from the ELCA website "benevolence" is in parentheses, an aid to people who haven't caught on.  ;D

Nope. Go to the elca web site and do a search for "benevolence." You will find DOZENS of uses of the term. The first one on the list will actually be an official ELCA form of some kind which asks you to fill in a figure for "ELCA benevolence."

And I would say that IF there has been a conscious effort for "decades" (technically true; two decades) to change the language, it obviously hasn't worked and was probably misguided in the first place.

Richard and Charles, quit your bickering. The rest of us don't want to hear it! Must you two always go at each other?  ::)



Only when he's wrong . . .

I'll store that information for future use.

Steve Ames

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #254 on: December 03, 2010, 07:57:01 PM »
Office of the Treasurer --- Current Year Financial Report   http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Office-of-the-Treasurer/Financial-Reports/Current-Year-Financial-Reports.aspx

ELCA CHURCHWIDE ORGANIZATION
2010 OPERATING RESULTS SUMMARY FOR THE NINE MONTHS ENDING OCTOBER 31, 2010
…Receipts totaled $46.8 million for the nine-month period compared with $54.4 million the previous year, a decrease of $7.6 million or 14.0 percent. Expenses related to the current operating fund amounted to $46.8 million, a decrease of $9.1 million or 16.3 percent from October 2009. …
Income from congregations through synods in the form of Mission Support income after the nine-month period was in line with the revised projection at $36.6 million, although a decrease of $6.2 million or 14.4 percent from the same period in 2009.
Other temporarily restricted and unrestricted funds available for the budgeted operations of the church amounted to $10.2 million compared with $11.6 million in the first nine months of 2009. … Bequests and trust income, $1.2 million, and Missionary Sponsorship support, $2.0 million, were behind budget and the same period in 2009. …
Total contributions to ELCA World Hunger for the nine months were $8.7 million. This is unfavorable to the same nine-month period in fiscal 2009 by $2.1 million or 19.2 percent. …
Contingency plans for both current fund operations and World Hunger programs are in place. Income will be monitored closely between now and year-end to determine when and whether any funding on hold as part of the contingency plan can be released to partners.


Comments:
Receipts decreased by $7.6 million or 14.0 percent with the biggest impact being from decreases of the $6.2 million from Mission Support income or 14.4 percent and  $1.5 million from Bequests and Trusts or 55.3 percent. 

Note the scale has been changed on the chart "Mission Support Received In Preceding 12 Months of the Synod Mission Support" but perhaps the rate of decline is slowing. The SYNODICAL REMITTANCES  report shows 18 synods with declines of more than 20 percent with West Iowa at (52.6%) being the largest decline.

Expenses decreased by $9.1 million or 16.3 percent.  Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission, Global Mission, alonq with Vocation and Education maybe taking the biggest hits.


Other related ELCA news:

ELCA NEWS SERVICE -- November 23, 2010
ELCA Council Acts on Structure, Governance Proposals, Other Topics 10-294-JB

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) recommended constitutional amendments to the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly regarding a 3-year cycle for churchwide assemblies, council membership, eliminating program committees and strengthening interrelationships. …
The council approved churchwide spending authorizations for the 2011 fiscal year, beginning Feb. 1, including an initial current fund spending authorization of $62.6 million and a $17 million ELCA World Hunger spending authorization.
     Christina Jackson-Skelton, ELCA treasurer, said the projection for 2011 current fund income is a decrease of nearly $2.5 million from revised estimates for 2010.  In particular, the 2011 budget is based on $48 million in anticipated mission support income, reduced from the $51 million in anticipated mission support for 2010, she said. The estimate for ELCA World Hunger income for 2011 is $1.7 million less than for 2010.
http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4682


ELCA NEWS SERVICE -- November 22, 2010
ELCA Presiding Bishop Responds to Members in Third 'Town Hall' of 2010  10-292-JB

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- In his third online "Town Hall Forum" with members this year, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) addressed a variety of ELCA topics and concerns, …
Hanson said that the ELCA would be "diminished radically" without vibrant outdoor and campus ministries. He said members should not assume that budget reductions mean the church has abdicated its commitment to these ministries. 
     "The question before us is, 'How do we sustain the vibrant ministries so core to this church?'" he said. Hanson suggested that support for such ministries might come from the congregations of the ELCA.
     "I think some new life can come with perhaps less structure on the top and more of the spirit that comes locally," he said, adding that members should challenge themselves to consider how to support outdoor and campus ministries in times of diminished funding.
      The presiding bishop answered questions on several other topics during the forum:
+ ELCA World Hunger Appeal funding -- Hanson said the ELCA has made commitments to domestic and international partners to raise $20 million in ELCA World Hunger funds this year. Giving is down about 20 percent, he said. "My challenge is (that) we make up that difference between now and the end of the year," Hanson said. …
http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4680

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